Post Malone was the world’s biggest recording artist for the first half of 2018! Malone’s debut album, Stoney, surpassed its 77th week in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, beating Michael Jackson’s Thriller fort eh Longest all-time run.
But as it always is the case, this astounding success is no overnight sensation but rather a series of dominos falling precisely and timely for this success.
Dre London, Malone’s manager, shares his learnings of navigating the music industry and his plans for the future, building his own empire.
Don’t give up.
I had a UK rap artist called Cerose, and I believed that I could take him to America and make him big.
I took him to New York and… I learned a few things. The artist that I came with [started] going back and forth to the UK. I decided that I was going to stay, and battle for this American dream – to see if it was real.
I remember hitting rock bottom in New Jersey not long after that, actually; I stayed on this girl’s couch for two weeks because I had nowhere else to go.
People back home were saying like, “Dre, shit’s hitting the fan. If you’re running out of money, you can go home. You were doing good in the UK, bro.”
It was both the lowest and best point of my career, because my back was completely against the wall.
When I left England, I sold my house and vowed I wasn’t going to turn back. I was in America for about four years with no green card and no social security number, living off what I had left.
I learned, Dre, don’t give up. You listen to all the different voices in your head and all the different people that have opinions. But I learned that you have to stay focused on your goals, and remember what you came for.
It’s hard sometimes because there are so many speed bumps, and [success] is so far away that you feel like you won’t make it.
But I was creating relationships; I had built up a network of people in the music industry in New York. And I’d already worked on stuff with French Montana, with Jadakiss, and certain [other] hip-hop artists that were booming at the time.
I was able to executive produce records that turned out on Hot 97 [radio]. That gave me the foundations to do what I’m doing today.
In the early days when I wanted to get French Montana on a feature for Cerose, we built a friendship.
What I learned from him [Montana] was: this game is a hustle. It’s an absolute hustle. And no matter what, you’ve got to stay consistent.
Consistency, above all, is why he is where he is.
We put ‘White Iverson‘ on SoundCloud – it was early February, 2015. Malone tweeted it and it got a few [retweets], from people like Mac Miller – who said, ‘Wow, this song is fire’, and another artist called Key!, then Wiz Khalifa. Then Complex named it the song of the year.
You have to remember there was no Apple Music at this time – it was still all about iTunes. And Spotify was really still a European thing.
So SoundCloud was a discovery zone for millions of kids, and those kids today are now streaming records [on various platforms] all across America.
So SoundCloud was a pivotal moment for the music industry which we didn’t even realize at the time. We were doing what felt right; and, for me, that meant promoting the fuck out of that SoundCloud link like there was no tomorrow.
If we were chasing the money at the time, we might have tried to force people onto iTunes – Killing the SoundCloud Link. It wasn’t until days later when it was having 20 or 30 thousand plays a day that [Post] was like, “We need to put this on TuneCore and we need to put this out [on download sites].”
It just kept snowballing. We went to South by Southwest in March of 2015. I only booked four or five shows and by the time I got there, I was hustling. He ended up doing 14 shows in four days.
Everything is about Timing. Timing and Energy.
With the new artists that I’ve signed, I haven’t signed them onto any label yet and they’ve started streaming well – making good money. The artist has the power of going and signing a deal, or not doing any kind of deal like that. There’s no hurry.
I think more about my artists’ intellectual property today than ever before. It’s worth so much more, because of these streaming services.
I have a couple of other artists I’m developing, and we’re getting ready to gear up and launch on our label.
But everything’s gotta be right. Everything is about timing; timing and energy.